Buerger’s disease – Picture, Symptoms, Cause and Treatment of Buerger’s disease
What is Buerger’s disease?
Inflammation of the smaller and medium-sized blood vessels of the legs, especially of the lower limbs. This leads to clot formation and blockage, especially of the smaller arteries.
People commonly affected by Buerger’s disease
Younger, adult men aged between about 20 and 45; rare in women.
Part of body involved with Buerger’s disease
Arteries (and veins), particularly in lower limbs.
Symptoms of Buerger’s disease
Pains in the legs, which come and go because of interruption of the blood circulation, are the main early symptoms. There may be a sensation of numbness, tingling or burning in the legs. GANGRENE may develop, and sometimes ulcers occur on the fingers and toes. A person with symptoms of Buerger’s disease should consult a doctor.
Treatment of Buerger’s disease
This is aimed at prevention as there is at present no cure for this condition. The measures recommended are similar to those for ATHEROSCLEROSIS (atheroma) and include not smoking, eating a diet low in cholesterol and salt, taking regular exercise and losing weight if obese. As this is a disease of smokers and is extremely rare in nonsmokers, the most important measure is to give up smoking.
The symptoms of the disease can be alleviated in the early stages, and painkillers and drugs to dilate the blood vessels may be prescribed. An affected person should protect himself or herself against cold weather, being especially careful to keep hands and feet warm. Eventually, there may be a need for amputation if gangrene develops.
Cause of Buerger’s disease
The cause is unknown, but there is a definite association with smoking. The formation of blood clots in the veins (venous thrombosis) commonly occurs, and there is a risk of CORONARY THROMBOSIS.